Being cold is no fun. Whether It’s because the weather took a chilly turn or because of the change of the seasons, or because you’ve caught a sickness, it stinks to feel cold. Thankfully there are solutions. For example, you could just turn up your thermostat in your entire house, but that can get expensive very quickly.
That is where space heaters come in. Space heaters are essentially small heaters that you use to warm up space. It could be your home office, it could be a den or even your bedroom on a chilly Sunday afternoon. a space heater means that you can keep your thermostat at an economical setting but still enjoy the warmth.
There are several types of space heaters available, but one of the most efficient and economical is the infrared heater. These heaters use radiant technology to warm. And this radiant technology is why they are so efficient. Essentially, instead of warming air to keep you warm, they warm you directly, like your own personal sun. Plus, when you turn on an infrared heater, it begins producing heat nearly instantaneously.
Shopping for an infrared radiant heater can be difficult because there are so many different models with so many different options on the market. And that is where this two-part guide is going to help you. The first section will give you an overview of eight of the top infrared radiant heaters on the market. Each review will cover what sets this particular heater apart from the rest. After that, there will be bullet points that highlight some of the more attractive features of that particular model.
The next section is the proper buying guide. In it, you will first read about how infrared heaters work, and why they are a much better option than your traditional ceramic or kerosene heaters. The next part of the buying guide will introduce several key questions that you should ask yourself whenever you are looking to purchase a new infrared space heater. And lastly, the buying guide will cover several features you may like that suit your specific lifestyle.
- 1 Infrared Heater Reviews
- 1.1 Duraflame Electric Infrared Quartz Fireplace w/3D Flame Effect
- 1.2 EdenPURE A5095 Gen2 Pure Infrared Heater
- 1.3 Duraflame 9HM801-0142 Infrared Heater
- 1.4 Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater
- 1.5 Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 Infrared Wall Heater
- 1.6 Lifesmart Infrared Quartz Fireplace
- 1.7 Duraflame 5HM8000-O142 Infrared Quartz Oscillating Tower Heater
- 1.8 Unique Heat Infrared Whole Room Space Heater
- 2 Infrared Heater Comparison Chart
- 3 Infrared Heater Buying Guide
- 3.1 Section One: Infrared Heaters; How Do They Work?
- 3.2 Section Two: Asking the Right Questions
- 3.3 Section Three: Looking at the Features that are Best for You
- 3.4 Other Weather Proofing Tips
- 4 Conclusion
Infrared Heater Reviews
- Duraflame Electric Infrared
- Size: 5,200 BTU
- Room Size: 1,000 square feet
- Dimensions: 13.1 x 24 x 23.4 in
- Color: Black
- Weight: 28.6 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- EdenPURE A5095 Gen2
- Size: N/A
- Room Size: 1,000 square feet
- Dimensions: 15.1 x 11.5 x 9.6 in
- Color: Black
- Weight: 15 pounds
- Warranty: 2 year warranty
- Duraflame 9HM8101-O142
- Size: 5,200 BTU
- Room Size: 1,000 square feet
- Dimensions: 12.8 x 16.8 x 15.3 in
- Color: Oak
- Weight: 26.4 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Dr Infrared Heater
- Size: N/A
- Room Size: 1000 Sq. ft
- Dimensions: 13 x 11 x 16 in
- Color: Oak
- Weight: 19 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1
- Size: 18,000 BTU
- Room Size: 700 sq. ft
- Dimensions: 20.9 x 10.1 x 24 in
- Color: White
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Warranty: 1 Year Warranty
- Size: 5100 BTU’s
- Room Size: 1000 sq. feet
- Dimensions: 28 x 11 x 20 in
- Color: Oak
- Weight: 40 pounds
- Warranty: 1 year
Duraflame Electric Infrared Quartz Fireplace w/3D Flame Effect
Duraflame Electric Infrared Quartz Fireplace Stove will immediately grab your attention just because of how it looks. It effectively recreates the charm and atmosphere of a gas fireplace, while being semi-portable and much more efficient in heating. Like most infrared heaters, this heater remains safe to touch while in operation. The case gets warm, but never hot enough to burn you.
The quartz heating elements produce 5200 BTUs. This seems to be about standard for portable quartz infrared heaters. This means that you can comfortably heat a space up to 1000 square feet in area. The heater does have a fan which causes warm air to be blown around, but the fan is not adjustable.
The flame is not actual flame, either, but merely light projected on the rear of the heater, while also causing the faux logs inside to glow. The light show is produced by an easily replaceable 40-watt chandelier bulb. You can also watch the fire effect without turning on the heater, but not the other way around. If you want heat, there is no way to disable the flickering flames.
The heater has a footprint of 24 inches by 13 inches, with a height of 23.5 inches with the legs attached. It also includes a timer, which lets you set the heater to run anywhere from 30 minutes to 9 hours at a time. If you do set it to run for 9 hours, you’ll be relieved to know that it has an overheat sensor that will turn the unit off automatically. It also has a tip sensor that will shut the heater off if it gets knocked over.
The cord is a 6-foot long UL-rated cord with a 3-prong plug. It’s worth noting that the plug has a sensor built in that will also turn off the unit if the plug temperature rises too much.
- Heat output of 5200 BTUs
- Digital Thermostat allows adjustment from 62 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
- Four function remote controls power, flame, temperature and timer
- Flame Effect provided by 40-watt chandelier style bulb
EdenPURE A5095 Gen2 Pure Infrared Heater
This heater is one of the smallest on this infrared heater review list with a width of 11.5 inches and a depth of 15 inches. It is only 10.5 inches tall, making it perfect as a tabletop heater. And because it’s an infrared heater, the sides do not get hot to the touch, so you don’t have to worry about accidental burns.
However, just because it’s small doesn’t mean that this heater doesn’t produce some serious warmth. It also produces 5200 BTUs, which is capable of heating up to 1000 square feet. The thermostat is adjustable in two ways. First, you can use increments from 1 to 20, or you can use degrees Fahrenheit.
The EdenPURE Gen2 heater does not use quartz elements to produce heat; instead, it uses a solid aluminum metal core. This means that the heater is a little slower to reach maximum temperature, but not significantly so. The aluminum core is replaceable, but it is rated to last years.
You can get an optional upgrade kit for this heater which adds a UV light and filter; this adds an anti-bacterial air purifier. But even without the upgrade, there is still a rough mesh filter that helps reduce dust and larger airborne allergens. The unit has a quiet fan that is able to be adjusted to multiple speeds.
The EdenPURE has a timer to allow for shutoff after you’ve fallen asleep and also comes with a full-featured remote. It also has an automatic shut off if the unit is tipped over. The heavy-duty cord is six feet long with a three-prong grounded plug.
- 1500-Watt Infrared Heater with 20 increments of heating adjustment
- Adjustment corresponds to 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
- Remote Control allows control of power, temperature, and timer
Duraflame 9HM801-0142 Infrared Heater
This charming cube-shaped heater has a rich oak finish that suits multiple décor options. The front has a matte black facing with the controls easily accessed and a grille that emits heat. The top of the heater measures 13 inches by 16.5 inches. The front of the heater has a small curve, but that doesn’t interfere with placement at all.
There are six quartz heating elements that provide nearly instantaneous heat when the heater is turned on. The elements are rated at over 80,000 hours, which at 8 hours per day, clocks in at over 3 years of continuous use.
It comes with a fan with multiple speeds based on what the heat level is set at. As you set the thermostat higher, the fan will run at higher speeds.
However, even at its highest speed, the fan still operates very quietly, never exceeding 45 decibels, which is about as noisy as a library. There is a filter, and Duraflame recommends that you vacuum it regularly to keep it clean.
The thermostat is able to be adjusted both in degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius, depending on your preference. The range is 50 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit and 10 to 36 degrees Celsius. The included remote allows you to adjust the timer through nine settings, with the lowest at 30 minutes and the highest at 8 hours. It also displays a 60-second countdown before the heater turns off, so you can reset the timer if you like.
The six-foot heavy-duty cord also features a plug safety feature that monitors the temperature of the plug. If it gets too hot, it will automatically shut off the heater. The Duraflame 9HM8101-O142 Portable Electric Infrared Heater also has an anti-tipping automatic shut off feature as well. This unit has recessed caster wheels which allow it to be moved easily from zone to zone.
- 1500-Watt infrared heater with 5200 BTU output
- 6 Quartz heating elements provide quiet and comfortable zone heating options
- The thermostat is adjustable from 59 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remote Control operates power, thermostat, and timer
Dr. Infrared Portable Space Heater
This attractive cube-shaped heater comes with a pleasant maple exterior and measures 10.5 inches wide by 12.5 inches deep. It is 15.75 inches tall with the castor wheels.
This Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater is unique among the heaters reviewed here in that it features dual heating methods. The first is a quartz tube element that provides fast heat on demand. The second is a PTC ceramic element that provides long-lasting heat. It kicks out 5200 BTUs, which enables it to heat up to 1000 square feet. The quartz tube is rated for 20,000 hours, while the PTC ceramic is rated for 80,000 hours.
It also has a low-noise turbo fan that helps to cool the unit and operates for 30 seconds every five minutes. Not only does it cool the unit, but it also draws in air to check ambient temperature against the thermostat setting. The fan is very quiet according to user reviews, and not a noticeable distraction. There is an electrostatic mesh filter in the back of the unit which should be cleaned at least once per month.
The heater also has a timer that can be adjusted from 1 to 12 hours. It does have a default timer of 3 hours. The timer and the temperature are able to be adjusted via the remote as well.
One important safety feature for the Dr. Infrared heater is its overheat alarm. If it detects that the heater is getting too warm, it will flash an alarm, alerting you to the problem as it automatically turns off. This can be tripped by the heater being too close to something and not receiving adequate airflow, or an object adjacent to the heater that has gotten too warm. It also features an automatic shutoff if the unit should tip over.
- Infrared heater uses a combination of Quartz infrared elements with ceramic PTC elements.
- Has high and low settings that operate at 1500 and 1000 watts separately
- The thermostat is adjustable from 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit
- The heater uses a high-efficiency blower to generate both convection and radiant heat
Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1 Infrared Wall Heater
This is the best portable infrared heater in this review list, clocking in at a whopping 18,000 BTU output. Despite that, it is still only rated to heat about 800 square feet in its stock form because it doesn’t come with a fan.
This Dyna-Glo Liquid Propane Infrared Vent Free Wall Heater has three settings: low, medium, and high. Each activates one additional heating element; low activates one element, medium activates two, and high activates three. That means that it doesn’t have a traditional thermostat, so you’ll have to adjust it on your own. This heater uses a press ignitor that is powered by a single AAA battery and also uses a pilot light.
When it comes to the installation of this heater, you need to be careful because it does burn propane. That means that it produces carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide as waste products. For this reason, you should never install this heater in a bedroom or a bathroom.
There are other safety concerns with the installation of a propane or natural gas infrared heater that will be covered later in the buying guide.
- The infrared heater that is fueled from liquid propane supply line (100 lb. tank or greater)
- Three levels of heat that allow one, two, or three burners to be lit
- Battery assisted ignitor and pilot light make activation simple.
- Wall mountable or able to be floor mounted on optional base legs.
Lifesmart Infrared Quartz Fireplace
This infrared heater offers the cozy ambiance of a fireplace without the draft and chill that a normal fireplace produces. It has recessed castor wheels that allow it to be moved easily from room to room. It measures in as one of the larger units in this review with a footprint of 28.5 inches by 10.7 inches. It’s also one of the tallest at 22.6 inches. As with all infrared heaters, the sides and top of the burnished oak cabinet will remain warm, but safe, to the touch. The front grill, however, will get hot and extra care should be taken to avoid burns.
This Lifesmart infrared heater has an ECO setting that helps to enhance your monetary savings. It sets the internal thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) and uses multistage technology to gradually warm the room. As it warms from cold to 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius), it will use more power. As the temperature approaches 66.2 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius), it uses less power until it reaches the thermostat setting. At this point, the unit will go into standby mode until it needs to produce heat again.
This means that the heater will never draw its full 1500 watts, which will save you even more money. The flame effect is able to be adjusted through three levels and can be turned off, allowing you to get warm in the dark if you like. The bulb that provides the flame is a 40-watt chandelier (E12) style bulb. The control panel has a child lock feature which prevents the temperature from being adjusted accidentally. The heater also has a timer function that is able to go from 1 to 12 hours in one-hour increments.
- Up to 1500-Watts with up to 5100 BTUs of thermal output
- Digital thermostat allows temperature control up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
- The remote control allows control of flame effect with or without heat, thermostat control, and timer.
- The timer operates up to 12 hours on/off
Duraflame 5HM8000-O142 Infrared Quartz Oscillating Tower Heater
This is the tallest heater in this review and the only one with an oscillating feature. The oscillation allows you to heat a wider area if you desire. This is perfect for if you set it up in the corner and want to warm the entire seating area of your living room. It has a solid hardwood frame with a nice dark oak veneer.
Despite being the tallest, it is still quite petite with a footprint of only 8 x 11 inches. That’s about the size of a sheet of notebook paper. It is 23 inches tall and weighs in at just over 23 pounds. It does not have any wheels, so you can place it on a small end table and let it oscillate without worrying that it’s going to slide off.
Because this is a Duraflame infrared heater, it does come with a sensor in the plug that will automatically shut off the unit if it detects the plug getting too warm. Additionally, it has the industry-standard automatic shutoff if it tips over and an overheat safety feature that will turn off the unit if it gets too warm.
This Duraflame 5HM8000-O142 infrared heater is a 1500 watt unit that produces 5200 BTUs for a maximum heating area of about 1000 square feet. The heat is controlled via a thermostat that can be set for either Celsius or Fahrenheit with a minimum temperature of 62 F/17C and a maximum temperature of 82 F/27 C.
The heater has a timer that runs from 30 minutes to 9 hours with one-hour increments from 1 hour to 9 hours. There is also an option for fan-only operation, allowing you to have air circulation without heat. The unit has an electrostatic filter that should be cleaned out at least once per month.
- 5200 BTUs of thermal output
- Can be set to oscillate or remain stationary
- Has 6 Quartz heating elements
- The thermostat allows temperature control from 62 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
Unique Heat Infrared Whole Room Space Heater
One of the first things you’ll notice about this heater is its sleek and modern look. Because it relies on infrared heat, the case stays cool to the touch, so you don’t have to worry about children or pets getting burned by accidentally touching it. As a further safety measure, this heater has an automatic shutoff switch if it is ever tipped over.
This Unique Heat Infrared heater has a small footprint, measuring only 15 inches wide by 11.5 inches deep by 11 inches tall. But this small size belies how powerful it is. It has a heat output of 5200 BTUs and is rated to warm a surface from 800 to 1000 square feet. The infrared heat is generated by quartz elements with an estimated life of at least 80,000 hours. It also includes a built-in fan with an easily cleanable filter. The filter is not high grade, because a HEPA filter would restrict airflow through the heater too much. But it will help catch cat hair and trap moderate amounts of dust.
The heater is also extremely quiet, generating 25 to 42 dB during normal operation. For comparison, 25 decibels is about as noisy as rustling leaves and 42 decibels is about as noisy as a library. That means that this heater won’t disturb your sleep should you move it into your bedroom for some extra warmth.
It’s also worth noting that the unit is easily moved with four castor wheels, and with a generous six foot, 3 prong cord, it’s easy to place it in a convenient location. It also comes with a remote control that allows you to change the thermostat at will. The remote uses infrared technology, so you do have to be within line of sight of the heater to use it.
- Temperature setting in both Celsius and Fahrenheit
- 1500-Watts of output with a heat output of 5200 BTUs
- Thermostat ranges from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
- Built-in safety features include tip-over and overheating automatic shutoff
Infrared Heater Comparison Chart
|Duraflame Electric Infrared||5,200 BTU||1,000 Sq. ft||13.1 x 24 x 23.4 in||28.6 pounds|
|EdenPURE A5095 Gen2||N/A||1,000 Sq. ft||15.1 x 11.5 x 9.6 in||15 pounds|
|Duraflame 9HM8101-O142||5,200 BTU||1,000 Sq. ft||12.8 x 16.8 x 15.3 in||26.4 pounds|
|Dr Infrared Heater||N/A||1000 Sq. ft||13 x 11 x 16 in||19 pounds|
|Dyna-Glo IR18PMDG-1||18,000 BTU||700 Sq. ft||20.9 x 10.1 x 24 in||20 pounds|
|Lifesmart||5100 BTU’s||1000 Sq. ft||28 x 11 x 20 in||40 pounds|
|Duraflame 5HM8000-O142||5,200 BTU||1000 Sq. ft||8 x 10.9 x 22.8 in||23.1 pounds|
|Unique Heat||5200 BTU||800-1000 Sq. ft||15.1 x 11.5 x 9.6 in||15 pounds|
Infrared Heater Buying Guide
Now that you know the eight absolute best infrared heaters on the market and what they have that sets them above the rest, you can find out what questions you should be asking to help you narrow down your options. You might have seen one or two features that caught your eye, or you may have seen a dozen things you want in your next space heater; whatever it is, this buying guide will help you with the next steps.
That is, after all, what this guide is for. Whether you want to start from square one and go forth and select one that didn’t make the list, or if you want to review the ones that did, this guide has you covered. You’ll be well informed and able to make the best decision for how you’re going to use it. After all, it’s not just what this review guide has pulled together; it’s going to help you be able to do the research you need to get the infrared heater that’s the one for you.
Section One: Infrared Heaters; How Do They Work?
When you’re looking at infrared heaters, you’ll hear a lot about how they’re better for you than convection heating. You probably wonder why that is. Well, that’s what this section of the guide is for. First, it’s going to explain to you how infrared heating works, and then it’s going to break down why that’s so good and how it saves you money.
How Heat Travels
When it comes to making things warm, there are three ways you can do it: Radiation, Convection, or Conduction.
Conduction is when you make something warm via direct contact with the heat source. Like when you wrap your cold hands around a warm cup of hot cocoa and let the mug warm your aching fingers. This is probably the worst way for a heater to have to work because you can’t exactly just lay down on a warm pizza stone or put your hands directly on a heating element. That would cause extreme pain and some nasty burns. As a side note, you don’t ever want to touch or block the front of an infrared heater because that will cause whatever is blocking it to become extremely hot quickly.
Convection is when the heat is transferred via a fluid, like air or water. This is like when you get warm by sinking into a hot tub, or when you stand in front of a register as it blows warm air. You aren’t in direct contact with the heater; instead, you’re letting the heater warm the water or air and basking in that. This is how central heating systems work. They heat the air and blow it into your home on a continuous loop.
This is often one of the most inefficient ways of heating because when the warm air moves away, so does the heat. Think about if you use a patio heater on a windy day. Patio heaters work by burning a fuel source and transferring that heat to the air, creating a circle of warmth. On a windy day, cold air constantly replaces the warm air, often faster than the heater can keep up. So in your home, if you have a slight draft, or your door is a little leaky, cold air will seep in and steal the warmth you’re trying to put out.
Radiation is the final way that heat is transferred. In this method of heat transfer, heat doesn’t travel through anything. You’re just exposed to heat and it warms you. Think about the sun, and how you can still get hot on a cool fall day. The air is still crisp, but with the sun beating down on you, you feel warm. Or, when you’re standing by a campfire at night; the air is still cold, but the heat from the fire radiates out to make you warm on whatever side is facing the fire.
So How do Infrared Heaters Work?
Infrared radiant heaters work this way. They generate heat by producing infrared radiation from a hot source. This can be through running electricity through a metal rod or by agitating quartz crystals or by warming ceramic until it begins to emit heat. They don’t warm the air to make you warm. The heat radiation travels unimpeded through the air until it is absorbed by a solid object. In other words, the radiation warms you directly as long as you’re in front of the heating element. This means that they’re amazingly useful as space heaters when you’re not going to be moving around a lot. They’re also great for warming up enclosed spaces because that heat radiation begins to bounce around and reflect off of other surfaces.
This means a radiant heater will warm the walls, floor, ceiling, and anything else that’s in front of the heating element. As those warm up, they’ll start to reflect the heat away, because they can’t absorb any more. Some infrared heaters up their game by adding in a ceramic element and a fan, which adds convection heat to the mix.
If you really want to up the efficiency of an infrared radiant heater, you can introduce reflectors to the mix. Reflectors are made up of any shiny material such as aluminum or copper. Ideally, you want them to be as shiny as possible because that way they will reflect more infrared radiation than they absorb. Another good material for a reflector is mylar. This thin metallic material has a very low ability to absorb heat, but a very high reflective capability. That’s why they use it for emergency blankets in emergency kits in your car.
They Keep You Comfortable Too
One key benefit of radiant heat is that because it doesn’t heat the air, it doesn’t change the relative humidity levels in your home. This means that you won’t feel like the air is drying you out and you’ll be able to run your humidifier less as well.
Because infrared heat doesn’t dry the air, it won’t make any existing respiratory conditions worse. Dry air can cause your asthma to flare up more often; it can also make symptoms from sinusitis even more annoying, and worse, it can cause bronchitis to get worse and the sickness becomes more acute.
When it comes to the amount of moisture in the air, it’s not actually how much is there, it’s the relative amount that determines how comfortable you are. For example, at relative humidity levels of under 25 percent, you’re going to feel dry and itchy. Above 60 percent, and you’re going to feel like it is a swamp.
When the air gets colder, it is able to hold less moisture. As it gets warmer, it can hold more. Heaters don’t change the amount of moisture in the air, but as a convection heater warms the air because the actual moisture level doesn’t change, the relative humidity level plummets. That makes you feel dry, so you turn on your humidifier to compensate.
An infrared radiant heater doesn’t change the air temperature, so the relative humidity level won’t change. So you may not feel like you have to run your humidifier at all. You should still moisturize, however.
Safety is Rule One
Infrared radiant heaters can pull a lot of juice. When you plug them into the wall, you want to make sure that the circuit can carry the load. While a 1500 watt draw is about what a hairdryer pulls, you don’t run your hairdryer for 8 hours or more, do you? It’s best to be sure that whatever circuit you do plug your heater into, it isn’t shared with something vital, like your refrigerator or your television.
Also, never use a residential extension cord with these heaters. The plug can get extremely hot because of all the energy flowing through it. That means your lightweight extension cord can melt, or even start an electrical fire. If you do need extra space, use an industrial-strength extension cord that is rated for the power draw. These will be thicker and sometimes advertised as “outdoor” extension cords.
As long as the heater is powered by electricity, there will be zero carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide released. That means that you can use these safely inside without any extra ventilation. If, however, your infrared heater uses natural gas or liquid propane as a fuel source, you will need to take extra precautions.
Most liquid propane or natural gas heaters will have an automatic shutoff switch if they detect carbon monoxide buildup. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. As this guide told you, these are radiant heaters, so ensuring that there is adequate airflow won’t affect your heater’s efficiency too much.
Additionally, make sure that the heater’s vents are clear and unobstructed. And ensure that there is plenty of clearance between the heating elements and objects in front of it to avoid a fire hazard.
One last word about these radiant heaters. There are some people who believe that because they use radiation, they are inherently dangerous. They may speak of the dangers of “near-infrared” rays that can cause burns. Radiant infrared heaters do not emit this. They use far-infrared rays, which have zero effect on your DNA and won’t cause you to mutate and gain superpowers.
Infrared heaters will not cause cancer because they only emit infrared radiation. Cancer is caused by overexposure to high energy ultraviolet radiation. You may suffer a slight burn if you fall asleep directly in front of an infrared heater, but your skin won’t be exposed to harmful radiation that can cause melanoma or other forms of skin cancer. When used responsibly and safely, an infrared radiant heater is a safe and efficient space heater.
Special Notes About Propane and Natural Gas Infrared Heaters
Because propane and natural gas produce carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, you must ensure there is adequate ventilation in the room you install it in. For this reason, you should also never install these units in a bedroom because if the pilot light goes out, the accumulation of gas would be dangerous. Additionally, because there’s no way to provide additional ventilation, you should never install these heaters in bathrooms.
When looking at if you need extra ventilation, you have to look at the type of space you are putting it in. There are three classifications for rooms when it comes to ventilation: Unusually Tight Construction, Unconfined Space, and Confined Space.
A confined space is defined as a space that is less than 50 cubic feet per 1000 BTU. So for the Dyna-Glo 18,000 BTU heater, a confined space would be anything under 900 cubic feet. If the room you place the propane infrared heater is less than that size, you must provide for additional ventilation.
If it’s larger than that, then you can consider that to be an unconfined space and no additional ventilation is needed.
For Unusually Tight Construction, this is where your doors and windows have weather stripping installed and where your walls and ceilings have a water vapor retarder that’s rated at one perm or less.
If you need to provide additional ventilation, this can come from an adjacent unconfined space as long as there are two permanent openings or you can permanently remove the door to the confined space.
If you’re going to provide ventilation from the outdoors, you need two permanent openings. One must be within 12 inches of the floor and the second must be within 12 inches of the ceiling. These vents should be connected directly to the outdoors and not to an attic.
When it comes to spacing around the propane infrared heater, there are requirements for installation. The heater must be at least 3 feet from the ceiling, and 3 inches from the carpet or floor. On either side, there should be an 8-inch clearance. Additionally, drapes and furniture must be at least three feet away from the heater.
Section Two: Asking the Right Questions
Question One: How big of a room are you heating?
This is perhaps the primary concern when it comes to any heater, but doubly so with radiant heaters. That’s because the heat radiation efficiency falls off dramatically as you get farther away. That’s not to say that you’re losing heat, but as you get farther from the heater, the same amount of heat is spread out over a larger surface area.
That means that it doesn’t have the same warming power far away. In technical terms, infrared radiation diffuses in relation to the square of the distance difference. So, if you’re 20 feet from the heater, you’re getting one-fourth of the heat that you would if you were 10 feet away. This is why some units also just can’t keep up with extremely large spaces on their own.
However, because infrared heaters don’t rely on convection and air movement to keep you warm, you can take one heater and position it so it’s focused on the area where people will be. For example, in the bedroom, pointing the heater at the bed, or pointing it at your favorite recliner in the family room; these are both ways to get around the limitations of radiant heat.
Question Two: Just Quartz Heating Elements or a Combination?
When it comes to radiant heaters, the more quartz elements you have, the more heat you’re going to generate. But sometimes, just quartz isn’t going to cut it. Sometimes you want the gust of warm air instead of just feeling warm.
In these instances, look for a radiant heater that also incorporates a fan and a ceramic block. Then you can get the best of both worlds. Part of the radiant heater is directed at the ceramic, which quickly heats up. The fan then draws cool air over the hot ceramic, warming it, and sending it out to waft about your cold toes.
Keep in mind that the addition of a fan and ceramic block will reduce the cost savings you’ll get from just a pure radiant heater. But sometimes a little extra expense is worth the comfort afforded by warm air around you.
Another reason to think about different types of heating elements is the cost savings and efficiency. For example, ceramic blocks are extremely efficient at converting energy to radiant heat, clocking in at about 96 percent. By contrast, quartz lamps operate at 85 percent efficiency and quartz tubes are 61 percent efficient.
But the drawback of that efficiency is the time it takes to warm up. A quartz tube will reach maximum temperature nearly immediately, but a ceramic emitter may take three or four minutes to reach warming temperature.
Question Three: What fuel source will you be using?
Don’t think that just because it’s a radiant infrared heater, that you’re locked into just using electricity. Modern heaters can be powered by natural gas and liquid propane as well. But don’t think that you’re going to hop over to your local supermarket and get a 20-pound tank. You’re going to need a fixed tank that’s at least 100-gallons.
As a consequence of using natural gas or LPG, your heater won’t be very portable. You’re going to have to wall mount it, making this option best for radiant heaters you’re planning to install in bedrooms or garages where you won’t have to move them to get the most use out of them.
Question Four: How much money can it save you?
The cost savings for an infrared heater can be significant. That’s because infrared radiant heat is much more efficient when it comes to heating. Remember that with a standard convection heater, you have to be running it nearly constantly in order to maintain the warmth of the air. With the highly efficient quartz heating elements, you can run them at a much lower output.
Consider that most of the infrared heaters that were reviewed are two-stage heaters, operating at 1500 watts at high and 1000 watts at low. On average an infrared heater will perform as well as a convection heater that is 2.5 times its size. So, in order to get the same thermal output, you would need a space heater that pulled 2500 to 3750 watts.
For the sake of example, consider the low setting and the cost analysis between the two. For the sake of example, estimate that the average cost of electricity in your area is $0.15 per kWh. During the week, you run the heater for five hours, but on the weekends, you run it for 8 hours. You only run the heater from November to February, for a total of 16 weeks.
Infrared Radiant Heat Convection Heater
Heater Wattage 1000 Watts 2500 Watts
Cost of 1hr. of Operation $0.15 $0.375
Weekly cost of Operation $6.15 $15.375
Seasonal Cost of Operation $98.40 $246
As you can see, running the radiant heater saves you roughly $150 per season. That’s not counting the additional savings that you’ll gain because you’ll be able to set your home thermostat lower. The Department of Energy has said that if you adjust your thermostat by one degree for eight hours, you will see a one percent saving. If you lower your thermostat by ten degrees for 24 hours, that could net you up to 30% in total heating savings over the winter.
Because you’re taking advantage of the zone heating capability of the infrared radiant heat, you can turn off a heater as you leave a room and turn another one on in the next room. And because the quartz elements heat up almost instantly, you will barely have time to even feel chilly.
Section Three: Looking at the Features that are Best for You
There are certain features that infrared radiant heaters can offer that other heaters simply cannot. This is due in part because a radiant heater’s casing simply doesn’t get as hot as a convection heater. That being said, one of the key features that you should look for is a case or housing that suits your décor.
Consider that most convection heaters come in heavy-duty black or grey plastic. They have to in order to house the incredibly powerful and inefficient heaters that they use. Infrared heaters, on the other hand, can be made to look like nearly anything. That’s why you’ll find models that look like gas fireplaces with artificially flickering flames. Others will have cases that come in designer colors or a variety of faux wood finishes.
Another benefit of not being locked into thick plastic is that radiant heaters come in multiple sizes with hugely different footprints. You can get one that is tall and skinny or get one that’s large and sits in the middle of your room.
Another feature that you should consider is how portable the heater is. Most radiant heaters are fairly lightweight, but if you get one that operates on natural gas or liquid propane, it’s not going to be mobile at all.
Most of the units featured in this guide are extremely portable. Some have wheels, while others weigh next to nothing. Some even feature carrying handles that let you move them from one room to another quickly
Another feature you should look for is multi-staging. In most radiant infrared heaters, this is a high or low setting that allows the heater to be run at a lower wattage draw. This two-stage heating will let you get the most out of a heater.
For example, let’s say you get home and you want to get warm quickly. You turn your radiant heater on high until you’re comfortably warm. At that point, you can turn it on low and allow the heater to simply maintain your comfort level. This means that you’re saving money on operating costs because the heater Is pulling less energy.
This is as opposed to a heater that only goes full blast or is completely off. While it is still going to save you money, it’s not going to save you as much as it could. And remember, because an infrared heater is more efficient the closer it is, if you want to be warmer, you can simply move closer to the heater or move the heater closer to you.
Other Weather Proofing Tips
Using a heater isn’t the only way that you should be trying to save money on your heating costs during colder weather. A few changes in your home can also help keep money in your pocket.
Adding insulation in your attic is a great way to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The attic is one of the primary causes of heat loss in your home. If your attic isn’t properly insulated, you can lose up to 20 percent of the warm air. That means that you’re basically throwing 20 percent of your heating costs into the front yard.
The ability of a material to resist heat loss is called its R-Value. All insulation has this value, and you should definitely know yours. If you don’t, take a yardstick and measure the depth of the insulation in your attic. Multiply the thickness in inches by 3.6 to get the R-Value.
You ideally should have an R-Value in your attic of at least 30. If you don’t then you should add insulation. Thankfully, you don’t have to remove the old insulation unless it’s wet or damaged. Instead, you can just add more on top.
If you have blown insulation, you want at least 8.5 inches covering the entire attic floor. As an example, if you have an existing R-Value of 10, adding another 5 inches of insulation will increase your R-Value to 28, which will have a dramatic effect on heat loss through your attic.
Another area to look at is your windows. Not just the material, but also the areas around them and how they are connected to the home. If you notice any gaps in the weather stripping, you should immediately replace it. If you don’t see any leaks or gaps, there is an easy way to test for hidden ones.
Light a candle and wait for it to steady. Bring the flame close to the window and watch it. If you notice the flame starts to dance toward the window, you have a leak. To pinpoint the draft point, blow out the candle and watch the smoke. The smoke will flow toward the leak and tell you exactly where you need to add caulk.
If you don’t have any leaks in your window, the next step is to do a simple temperature check. Go outside and put your hand on a window. If the glass is warm, you’re leaking heat. The best way to fix this is to change your windows to double or triple-pane glass with a noble gas filler. If this is a little pricey to you, you can use a window sealing kit in a pinch.
These kits are essentially plastic wrap that you spread over your window. You use double-sided sticky tape to fasten the plastic and then a hairdryer on low to tighten the plastic. The air that you trap between your window and the plastic acts as an insulating agent, blocking a lot of the heat that you would be losing otherwise.
These aren’t the only areas where you can stop heat loss. If you have a chimney, make sure that the flue is closed. Even if it is, you can still lose heat through it. Inflate a black plastic bag and stuff it into your chimney to securely block it. Just remember to take it out before you light a fire. For more information articles and guides on home climate control read our guide here.
When searching for the perfect infrared space heater, there are a lot of decisions to make before you purchase one. Hopefully, this guide has helped you make your way through and helped you narrow down your buying decision. Whether you’ve settled on one particular model or are still wrestling with options, you now have the help you need to get the heater that will keep you and yours toasty warm when you need it.